Kwan Song

Reviewing last night's best batted balls.


Steven Kwan (CLE): 3-5, 2 R, SB.

We’ve enjoyed a really exciting season so far with new talents making a name for themselves. In the AL, Julio Rodríguez and Bobby Witt Jr. have led the way. Adley Rutschman’s debut was delayed by an injury, but he’s starting to make an impact for the Orioles while Jeremy Peña has done a fantastic job filling the void left by Carlos Correa down in Houston. And in the NL, it’s been the Michael Harris II show in Atlanta while the Cubs also have a pair of rookies who’ve had some moments in Seiya Suzuki and Christopher Morel – and that’s just to name a few.

He doesn’t have the pedigree of the other names mentioned as a fifth-rounder out of the 2018 draft, nor does he have the power, but let’s take a minute to highlight Cleveland’s leadoff man, Steven Kwan. After hitting over .300 in Double-A and Triple-A last year, he’s come as advertised and now leads all qualified rookies with a .298 batting average. His 8.3% K rate easily leads the pack; teammate Ernie Clement is second amongst qualified rookies with a 15.0% K rate followed by Vincent Pasquantino’s 15.2%. In OBP, the 24-year-old rookie is second at .369; Brendan Donovan leads at .396. He’s also chipped in eight steals.

If you zoom out to include all qualified hitters, Kwan is still first in K rate just barely ahead of—you guessed it—Luis Arraez at 8.4%. Kwan hit the skids in May when he hit .173 across 21 games and saw his average dip to .244. But since June 1st, guess who leads all qualified hitters in batting average? Okay, that would be the monster that is Yordan Alvarez at .376 (!!). But, hey, Kwan is eighth, hitting .332 during that span. It may have taken a few years, but the Guardians might have found their replacement for Michael Brantley. Granted, he has since gone on to hit double-digit home runs multiple times, and you certainly can’t predict that for Kwan at this point. But as a 24-year-old in 2011, Brantley hit seven home runs and then six in 2012, his first season over 500 PA. So at this point in their respective careers, they might not be too far apart.


Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:


Rhys Hoskins (PHI): 4-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.

He opened up the game with a pair of singles to right. In the seventh, with two on and two out, he hit a single through the third base hole that tied the game 2-2. He saved his best for last, launching a two-run blast to center off Duane Underwood Jr. that broke the tie in the tenth. The righty’s OPS now sits at .823, right in line with his career mark of .856.

Seth Brown (OAK): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Brown returned from the paternity list with a bang. Home run number one came on a hanging slider from Lance Lynn with one away in the sixth. In his next at-bat, he tagged reliever Davis Martin on a low liner that just cleared the right-field fence. He leads the A’s with 14 home runs, but, of course, that comes with a .228 average and .277 OBP. But, hey, someone has to lead the A’s, right?

Ha-Seong Kim (SD): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB.

Kim entered last night’s contest with a .295 average across 20 games in July, although it hasn’t come with much power with just a .393 slugging percentage during that span. Kim’s sixth home run of the year came on a middle-middle 91 MPH heater from Joe Ryan in the second on what was a brutal night for the Twins starter, as he allowed a whopping five home runs total. Kim came stateside last year on the heels of a 30 home run season in the KBO and so far the power hasn’t translated; just a .658 OPS through 641 PA. Although he has shown some improvements in year two, chopping his K rate from 23.8% to 18.7% while also bumping his average up to .242 after hitting .202.

Starling Marte (NYM): 3-5, 3B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Marte’s two-run triple in the second off Sandy Alcantara came on a great piece of hitting as he redirected a 98 MPH sinker on the outer third and slashed it the other way to the gap in right-center. He later victimized Alcantara again with a home run to center. The veteran has been excellent in year one with the Mets hitting .305 with a .835 OPS. Although his stolen bases are down relative to last year—just 12 through 83 games while being caught six times. For the Mets, Brandon Nimmo also hit one out, his first since back on July 14th against the Cubs.

Aaron Judge (NYY): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI.

After hitting the game-winner the previous night, he proved the difference again with 6 RBI in the Yankees’ 11-5 win over the Royals. Judge’s season for the ages continues and he’s now become just the second Yankee to ever hit 41 home runs by the end of July. The other? Babe Ruth. 

Aledmys Díaz (HOU): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

The Astros’ utility man kicked off the scoring by banging out a solo home run in the second off Robbie Ray in what ended up being a blowout 11-1 win over their division rivals, the Mariners. He hit another one in garbage time in the eighth. Díaz has been valuable from a real-life standpoint for the Astros as a utility man, but outside of tonight, he hasn’t done much with the bat to warrant interest, hitting .240 with a .694 OPS.

Austin Riley (ATL): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

How about Riley’s July? In 24 games, he’s hitting .427 with a 1.372 OPS. Dinger number 29 came in the first courtesy of an 87 MPH cutter from Madison Bumgarner.

Salvador Perez (KC): 1-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.

He’s back! With the rain coming down, Perez put the cap on a five-run fifth by redirecting a 99 MPH Gerrit Cole fastball 424 feet over the center field wall for home run number 12.

Will Smith (LAD): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.

Smith’s 435-foot blast to left off a Chad Kuhl fastball in the first helped the Dodgers eke out a 5-4 win over the Rockies at Coors Field. Smith now leads all catchers with 15 home runs, surpassing Willson Contreras at 14. Klay’s brother, Trayce Thompson, hit his fourth of the year. Meanwhile, Max Muncy’s rotten season continues; three more strikeouts, dropping his slash to .160/.308/.301. The Dodgers are apparently eyeing Garrett Cooper, and if that happens, it might bite into Muncy’s playing time.

Anthony Santander (BAL): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Santander’s team-leading 18th home run puts him just two shy of tying his career-high which came in 2019 in 405 PA. He’s also put together a career-best .336 OBP. Santander and Trey Mancini could be potential trade candidates, so the Orioles’ lineup could look different in a few days.

Speaking of potential trade targets, how about J.D. Martinez? He’s been dealing with a back injury and has slashed .206/ .356/ .329 across 19 games in July. That’s not what you want to see with the deadline days away.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)


Ryan Amore

A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club, Ryan Amore has been writing things at Pitcher List since 2019. He grew up watching the Yankees and fondly remembers Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the '96 WS. He appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

2 responses to “Kwan Song”

  1. StatiX says:

    I hate how streaky Hoskins is. Had him on the bench last night. He’s prolly due for a few more dingers tho next week.

    • Ryan Amore says:

      Oh man, I know what that’s like. No fun having that on the bench. Yes, Philly has a 4 game series against the Nats coming up so Hos could definitely pick up some steam next week.

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